Your Questions About In Paragraph Citation

Daniel asks…

Is it obnoxious to put a whole paragraph citation in a research paper?

i found two small paragraphs that have exactly to do with my topic.. and i dont want to take the chance of paraphrasing them.. and accidentally plagiarizing. is it okay to just paste them in as a citation.. or its too long?
Thank You

Robin West answers:

There are rare occasions when it is appropriate to have a really long block quote, such as if you are doing a close reading of a literary text or historical document and the passage you’re analyzing is from a work that may not be convenient for your reader to find. Or maybe if you took an interview and you need to give the full text of someone’s response in order to write about it.

But in your case, it is just going to look lazy.

What you want to do is summarize in a sentence or two (your own words) what that other source said, giving the author credit for it, and then respond to it with your own opinion or additional things that you found that the other author didn’t write about. And contextualize it within your own argument. Surely you are dealing with a slightly different topic or treating it from a slightly different perspective than your source. I understand that it can be frustrating to have an idea and start writing a paper and then discover that someone else has already said everything you were going to say, but sometimes that turns out to be a good thing because it pushes you to think beyond the obvious and come up with new ideas.

Ruth asks…

When writing a paper should the first paragraph contain citation?

I’m currently writing a paper on Spartan Education. In my introductory paragraph should I have any citation for references being made? If not should I avoid writing factual data in my thesis? What is the best way of going about this, should I omit citation for my intro, rewrite it such that I won’t need citation, or include citation?

Robin West answers:

The first paragraph of a research paper should never have a citation. The way I learned how to write papers is that the first paragraph is the intro and should include the main idea and your thesis statement. And the other paragraphs are explaining what you say in the intro and should contain some citations from your sources. Then your conclusion has to contain you thesis and it should of course close the paper. Hope this helps! Good Luck!

Ken asks…

How do you denote an in paragraph MLA citation of a website?

I understand that you have to include author and then page number. Then if the author is not listed, move onto the title. Well if I am giving credit to Wikipedia website on a specific topic, I just don’t know what to do! Help, lol.

Robin West answers:

Look in the back of a writers refrence and it explains everything in detail.

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